Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Night in Asbury Park
The other night after work, suitor number 2, The Prince Charming asked if I wanted to ride over to Asbury Park for some dinner. Not spending to much time in New Jersey except to work, and I'll keep it that way, I decided to go see what it was all about being a Springsteen song and all. And I figured I'd continue my beach tour, since that seems to be my choice of locale this summer. There was a place the Prince Charming though I might like to dine and have some cock-a-tails. Depending on who you talk to, Asbury Park has been through several bad spells for so many reasons. Fire gutted many of the Boardwalk Attractions early in the last century; hurricanes and nor'easter damage eroded lots of the classic Art Deco buildings; and, of course, there was that ugly period in American History about 40 years ago, when Asbury Park, along with dozens of American cities, faced riots. In the last three years the little beach town is trying to come back and there is much rebuilding going on. I don't know if I'd go back, but it was nice to see. Although the Lad said I might want to check out a place called Swell, a go-go boy joint. Not that I would mind ya! This is the old Casino Building, which spans the Asbury Park Boardwalk on one end. There's nothing in here for now except for a Farmer's Market on Saturdays, but workmen are busy renovating both this 1920s-era structure, which used to house Boardwalk amusements & was never used for gambling, and the adjacent Carousel.
The one-mile Boardwalk is bracketed at both ends--by the old Casino Building at one end, and the equally geriatric Convention Hall, below, at the other. I'd never seen a beach boardwalk running through a building before, and in Asbury Park it happens twice!
The Beach Bar. I understand you could see about 2,000 half naked men dancing on the sands here last weekend during the circuit event, Sand Blast. Of course, the Convention Hall is populated with the requisite restaurants, and shops, and a kiosk or 2. The really neat thing about this ongoing renovation is the Beach Bar, which runs along the outside of the building as it meanders across the beach to the water's edge.
After the walking and a quick look-see, it was off to dinner at Italian food house, Stella Marina.
Can I tell ya how in love with the chandeliers I am? How cool are these? And they are made of real drinking glasses!
We started with the fried Calamari appetizer which also included caper berries, fennel, and zucchini shreds. Outstanding. Crispy, perfectly salty and a huge portion.
As a middle course we shared the Funghi (portobello, fontina and thyme truffle oil) pizza. One of the best of this style pizza that I have had. Perfectly cooked, crispy yet tender.
I should have stopped there but continued on with a dinner entree.I had the Salmon with white wine, lemon, tomato, pine nuts, spinach, and roasted potato. A generous portion and very tasty. The crunchy little potatoes tasted like something from my childhood.
After such a lovely dinner I ended up staying at the Prince's abode as it was waaaayyyyy to late to drive home. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Tootles!